Activist Academy 2023
In 2015, AIDS Action and Fenway Health launched Getting to Zero Massachusetts (GTZ), forming a statewide coalition of 40 organizations to achieve the aims of the Getting to Zero initiative. Since then, the Getting to Zero coalition undertook a successful statewide community engagement process to lay the groundwork for a conversation about Getting to Zero.
The Getting to Zero Coalition is excited to relaunch our 4th cohort of Activist Academy to train a team of HIV and AIDS activists in order to advocate for the community, mobilize others, and continue moving the conversation forward in Massachusetts.
This program aims to develop community stakeholders and activists in educating community members in issues related to HIV prevention and access to care for those living with HIV/AIDS. The Academy equips participants with comprehensive knowledge and the tools to engage community members and state officials, and advocate on issues related to ending the HIV epidemic.
The cohort theme for 2023 is “Addressing Stigma.” The advocacy focuses for the 2023 cohort are: sexual health education, sex work decriminalization, and housing access. Each team is connected with legislation related to their advocacy focus. Teams are tasked with creating a project that engages the community in policy awareness while advancing the goals of their advocacy focus as it relates to addressing stigma and ending the HIV epidemic.
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Fenway Health is a federally qualified health center founded in 1971, dedicated to enhancing the wellbeing of the LGBT community through access to quality health care, education, research, and advocacy. Fenway Health is also the largest non-hospital provider of HIV/AIDS medical and behavioral health services in Massachusetts.
As part of Fenway Health’s HIV/AIDS work, AIDS Action (the public health division of Fenway Health) works to stop the HIV epidemic and related health inequities by eliminating new infections, maximizing healthier outcomes for those infected and at risk, and tackling the root causes of HIV/AIDS.
In 2015, AIDS Action and Fenway Health launched Getting to Zero Massachusetts (GTZ), a statewide coalition of 40 organizations that work to achieve the aims of the Getting to Zero initiative. This initiative is part of a worldwide movement dedicated to ending the HIV epidemic, and ensuring that those living with HIV have access to HIV treatments. Getting to Zero includes a future where there is zero stigma around HIV/AIDS, zero new diagnoses, and zero AIDS-related deaths.
Since 2015, Getting to Zero MA has successfully laid the groundwork for a conversation about Getting to Zero, including hosting a hugely successful HIV Innovations in Action Conference where Senator Elizabeth Warren issued her support for the coalition. Getting to Zero MA has also successfully lobbied Mayor Marty Walsh of Boston to sign the Paris Declaration on Fast-Track Cities so that by 2020, 90% of Boston residents will become aware of their HIV status, 90% of residents diagnosed with HIV will receive treatment with antiretroviral therapy, and 90% of those in treatment will achieve viral suppression.